Immediate Family Leave

This guide explores the various aspects of Immediate Family Leave under Australian employment law, including definitions, entitlements, and employer responsibilities for managing these essential leave types.

Understanding Immediate Family Leave is crucial for both employers and employees. This guide comprehensively covers various aspects of Immediate Family Leave, including compassionate, personal/carer’s, and family and domestic violence leave under Australian employment law.

What is Immediate Family?

Immediate family includes:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • De facto partner or former de facto partner
  • Children (including step and adopted)
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Siblings
  • The definition extends to immediate family members of the employee’s spouse or de facto partner and covers anyone living in the employee’s household.

Compassionate and Bereavement Leave

Compassionate Leave: Also known as bereavement leave, it allows employees time off for serious illness or injury of, or the death of an immediate family or household member.

Entitlement: Full-time and part-time employees are entitled to paid compassionate leave, while casual employees are entitled to unpaid leave.

Proof: Employers can request evidence such as medical certificates or death notices.

Personal/Carer’s Leave

The purpose of personal/carer's leave is to deal with personal illness or injury or to care for an immediate family member or household member.

Full-time employees get 10 days paid leave per year, part-time employees receive it on a pro-rata basis, and casual employees are entitled to unpaid leave.

Accruals continue during paid personal/carer’s leave or annual leave.

Cashing out of personal/carers leave is only possible under certain awards or agreements and with specific conditions.

Family and Domestic Violence Leave

All employees, including part-time and casual, are entitled to five days of unpaid leave each year.

FDA Leave can be used for court attendance, liaising with police, or other safety-related activities.

This leave type is accessible from the start of employment with no accruals.


  • Employers must maintain confidentiality regarding the reasons for taking immediate family leave.
  • Disclosure is only permitted only if required by law or for protecting someone's life, health, or safety.

Protecting Your Business

  • Understand and adhere to the legal obligations regarding Immediate Family Leave.
  • Develop clear policies and procedures for managing such leaves.
  • Train managers and HR personnel on handling these sensitive issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who Is Immediate Family for Compassionate Leave Purposes? Includes spouse, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings.
  2. How Many Days Compassionate Leave Are Employees Entitled To? Up to two days per occasion.
  3. Is Compassionate Leave Separate from Personal Leave? Yes, it is a distinct entitlement.
  4. Is Everyone Entitled To Compassionate Leave? All employees, including casuals (unpaid), are entitled.


Immediate Family Leave is a key aspect of employment law, providing essential support for employees during critical times. Employers must ensure compliance with these provisions to create a supportive and lawful workplace environment.

Need Help?

For personalised advice or further information on Immediate Family Leave, contact us at 1300 144 002. Our team of experts can provide guidance tailored to your specific business needs.

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